KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs continue to use their collective voice in sports’ effort to help fight for racial equality.
Before the NFL’s 2020 season opener, the Houston Texans remained in the locker room for the a rendition of "Lift Every Voice and Sing" and the national anthem.
During the anthem, many Chiefs locked arms on the sideline, while defensive end Alex Okafor chose to kneel with his right fist in the air.
Prior to that, the Chiefs as a team stood together and locked arms for Alicia Keys’ rendition of the "Lift Every Voice and Sing," which considered the Black national anthem.
The Chiefs stood in an end zone with locked arms as a video of Alicia Keys singing "Lift Every Voice and Sing" was played in the stadium. The Texans retreated to the locker room for the game.
Stars from both teams reportedly discussed the demonstrations leading up to game day, which were led by star quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.
Once the Texans returned to the field and before the coin toss, Mahomes and Watson linked arms at midfield and were joined by their teammates for "a moment of silence dedicated to the ongoing fight for equality in our country."
The rare gesture of unity between opposing teams was met with boos from some in the crowd, which was capped at 22% capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Players from both the Chiefs and Texans wore shirts with anti-discrimination slogans, including “Injustice against one of us is injustice against all of us” and “End racism.”
According to the NFL Network, the shirts were designed by Texans safety Michael Thomas and were sent to every player league-wide.
Here are the T-shirts — designed by #Texans safety Michael Thomas, and sent by the NFLPA to every player league-wide — that you’ll see during pregame warmups, starting tonight in Kansas City.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 10, 2020
The front reads: “INJUSTICE AGAINST ONE OF US IS INJUSTICE AGAINST ALL OF US.” pic.twitter.com/bkeo7mAkXm
Many players also had the names of Black people who have been killed by police on the back of their helmets.
Linebacker Anthony Hitchens chose to honor Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed by officers executing a no-knock warrant, in Lousiville, while safety Tyrann Mathieu put Alton Sterling's name on his helmet. Sterling was killed in 2016 by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where Mathieu played at LSU.
Before the game, several Kansas City Chiefs players, including Mahomes, took to the field during warmups Thursday wearing “vote” T-shirts.
Mahomes and Mathieu were among those sporting the shirts.
Before the season-opener Thursday, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes sported a red shirt that read "vote" during warmups. pic.twitter.com/IUpvOHWioX— 41 Action News (@41actionnews) September 10, 2020
Several members of the team have spoken out during the offseason as part of a broader effort to fight systemic racism and police brutality.
Mahomes and Mathieu were part of a group of several players across the NFL that appeared in a June video calling for change after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Mahomes joined athletes from across the sports world in a call to fight voter suppression in August.
This is a developing story and will be updated.